Monday, January 24, 2011

Magical Misery Tour

"Namaz Khaneh (House of Prayer)," Sheida Soleimani's one-woman exhibit at Semantics Gallery closing on Saturday, is a quietly unnerving, beautifully accomplished journey to the interior:  each of the photographed dioramas/shadow-boxes has its own gorgeously glum sensibility, like intensely personal poems written with the left hand then rewritten with the right, that process repeated until the scribbles become calligraphy and the mistakes turn into religion.  There's a yearning for perfection in each tableau, and yet the perfection is somehow channeled through a riveting stubbornness that deconstructs that initial desire to be perfect.  There's the obsessive, burnished carefulness of De Chirico here, plus the tidy, doll-inspired surrealism of Cornell, but there's also a rich tapestry of shadow and broken eggs, sloppily-constructed mouse furniture, an elegant decapitated fish head, a crucified baby bird, all of it enshrined somehow in the smoky afterglow of what's almost forgotten but too ferocious to disappear.  These are postcards from another world.  Thank God Soleimani went there.

Go see this show...  Last chance Saturday January 28, 2011.  Semantics:  1107 Harrison Avenue Cincinnati, Ohio...